Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have released a report claiming that US drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen are war crimes. The report is issued in conjunction with an investigation by Human Rights Watch detailing missile attacks in Yemen which the group believes could contravene the laws of armed conflict, international human rights law and Barack Obama’s own guidelines on drones. Amnesty International has highlighted the case of a grandmother who was killed while she was picking vegetables and other incidents which could have broken international laws designed to protect civilians.
The reports are being published while Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif,, is in Washington. Sharif has promised to tell Obama that the drone strikes – which have caused outrage in Pakistan – must end.
Drone strikes are being launched by the CIA into the contentious Pakistani border tribal areas, where it is very difficult to get info. There are numerous militants in these areas. (How secret now eh!) People are often terrified of speaking out, fearing retribution from both militants and the state, which is widely suspected of colluding with the CIA-led campaign. But, from the Guardian:
Amnesty mounted a major effort to investigate nine of the many attacks to have struck the region over the last 18 months, including one that killed 18 labourers in North Waziristan as they waited to eat dinner in an area of heavy Taliban influence in July 2012. All those interviewed by Amnesty strongly denied any of the men had been involved in militancy. Even if they were members of a banned group, that would not be enough to justify killing them, the report said.
When Obama was running for the office of president, he wooed voters with promises that military action in the Afghan/Pakistan area would be wound down. But the attacks go on. He promised to close the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay. But it’s still up and running, regularly subjecting inmates to “rigorous interrogation” (torture to you and me); and of course there are the secret CIA prisons worldwide, where we don’t know the inmates, the charges, the evidence, nothing. And the secret courts, where suspects are convicted on the basis of secret evidence that the defence can’t even look at.
I know I’ve said I’m tired of all the drone shit in the news nowadays, and that I would try to avoid going on about them. But I saw this story and knew I had to share it. This demonstrates that Obama’s “anti-war” sentiments when he ran for presidential office were a bunch of bullshit. He loves fighting wars (not in person, of course, the cowardly custard tart), and semi-autonomous, remote controlled drones are perfect for him: they can carry out airstrikes and assassinations without running the risk of more soldiers come home in body bags. FFS America, why do you want this moron “ruling the free world”? Every drone strike causes anti-American sentiment to grow more and more. Get rid of your president – I don’t really care how, buy you have to do something!